Friday, February 27, 2009

Once Saved, Always Saved?

I recently watched a YouTube video that shows a pastor from an un-named denomination calling John Wesley [founder of the Methodist movement] a heretic because of Wesley's belief that one could "fall away" from his/her faith and "perish everlastingly".  This pastor quotes a few passages from Wesley's "Serious Thoughts Upon the Perseverance of the Saints" as he preaches about Wesley's "heretical" beliefs.  

"Perseverance of the saints" is a Christian teaching that none who are truly saved can be condemned for their sins or finally fall away from the faith.  This teaching is a part of the traditional Calvinist doctrine found in churches that adhere to the Reformed Christian confessions of faith [the Presbyterian Church is one example].  It is also a part of the Free Grace or non-traditional Calvinist doctrine found in some Baptist and other evangelical churches.  Although there are some differences between the traditional Calvinist and Free Grace [non-traditional Calvinist] doctrines, both would describe Christian believers as "once saved, always saved". 

When Wesley wrote this essay, Serious Thoughts Upon the Perseverance of the Saints, he was responding to what he felt was a need for a treatise that examined this doctrine [as found in the Reformed Christian confessions of faith]  and that was written so that most intelligent people could understand it, whether or not they were educated as theologians. [Author's note: I must admit that I think that for 21st century readers, 17th century writings can be a challenge to understand, in spite of one's level of education.]  

In his essay, Wesley askes the question,  "Can any of these [meaning "saints" - any person who has answered God's call to follow the Christian faith] fall away? By falling away, we mean, not barely falling into sin. This, it is granted, they may. But can they fall totally? Can any of these so fall from God as to perish everlastingly?"  The entire thrust of Wesley's essay was an answer to that question, and his conclusion, based on many scriptural passages, was that a "saint" could indeed fall away from the Christian faith and "perish everlastingly" [lose his/her eternal salvation].  In other words, one was not "once saved, always saved".  

This refuted Calvin's theology, which stated that those who apparently fell away from the Christian faith either never had true faith to begin with, or that they would have to return to the faith at some point in the future.  It also serves as an answer to those who believe the Free Grace Theology [non-traditional Calvinist doctrines], which, in effect, says that a person could accept Christ as Savior, but then could continue to willfully live a lifestyle of sin, or even completely walk away from their faith in Christ, but yet, still be thought of as "saved", with their eternal salvation unconditionally guaranteed.

So what do you think?  Is the pastor on the YouTube video correct - that Wesley is a "heretic" because he believes one can "so fall from God as to perish everlastingly"?  Do you believe that a person can fall from the Christian faith and lose their salvation?  Why or why not?   

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why are they called "bills"? Why not "bobs" or "teds"?

"We would be delighted if you would pay your electric bill.  You will be de-lighted if you don't."

I read that one time on a page of puns and jokes.  I was thinking about it today because I have to pay my electric bill, or risk being "de-lighted."  Fortunately, I am able to pay it...  I have the funds available.  But there are many who do not, and so have their electricity cut off.

If you are one of the more fortunate people who complain about their electric bill, but yet have the funds to pay it [like yours truly], say a prayer for the millions of those who either cannot afford their electricity, or perhaps do not even have electricity to begin with.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!!

According to an article about Valentine's Day found on and the Greeting Card Association, over 1 billion Valentine's Day cards are sent each year, making this day the second largest card sending holiday of the year [topped only by Christmas].  

While the history of Valentine's Day is shrouded in mystery, the month of February has long been associated with romance.  We may never know for sure whether Valentine's Day began as a day to commemorate the death and burial of St. Valentine [which occurred around 270 AD] or whether it began as a way to "christianize" the pagan festival of Lupercalia.  But no matter how it began, Valentine's Day has long been a day for expressions of love towards those friends and family members who we cherish.  

Whether it was just with a phone call, a card and/or a box of candy or romantic dinner and evening out, it is my hope that each of you has taken time to let your loved ones know how much you love and appreciate them.

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Good Book: "The Shack" by William Young

Ok...  so I may be a little behind the times in reading and telling others about this book...  but if you haven't read it, get a copy and read!!  It is an excellent book and a fairly fast and "easy" read.  I put the word easy in quotations because while it is easy to read, it will tug at your heartstrings and emotions... but it is well worth it!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Living Stones - a chosen people... and a light to the world...

I named this blog "Living Stones - a chosen people", because those of us who consider ourselves to be "Christ-followers" have indeed been chosen by our Creator...  but not "chosen" in the sense of being an exclusive group, "better" than any other peoples, and or "above" all other peoples...

Rather, we are people who have been "chosen" for a task...  we have been given a job, so to speak.  We are to be lights in the darkness of our world.  In the midst of hopelessness and despair, heartache and suffering, we are to be Christ's light so that others might have a chance to find their way through the darkness that surrounds them.  "... for you are a chosen people.  You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own possession.  As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light."  [1 Peter 2:9 NLT]

We may be living stones, being built into God's spiritual house [1 Peter 2:5], but we must not think that we will be the only "stones" that God is looking for...   and so we must shine out with Christ's love to all those around us, in the same way that the lighthouse shown as a background picture in this blog, shines a guiding light that revolves and shines in all directions around it.  

As God's chosen people, royal priests and holy nation, we are chosen to do no less than the lighthouse...  we are chosen to shine out a light in all directions of our lives, to all we come in contact with, that they might also become a shining, living stone in God's spiritual house. 

Upon whom is your light shining today?  And is it the light of Christ that they see?  

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New Year's Resolutions - Revisited

I know, I know...   here it is February and I am posting about New Year's resolutions.  Usually people only talk about them during the first few days of the new year - if they even remember them on Jan. 2nd...

I said in an earlier post, dated Dec. 30th, that I quit making resolutions...  but then I challenged those who might read this blog to make a resolution about reading through the Bible.  Well, I guess I still do make them, because once again, I have taken up the challenge that I gave out.  I am reading through the Bible this year using the "schedule" that I explained in the post from Dec. 30th...   although, I have to be honest here and admit that I am a few days behind, so I will need to read a few extra chapters for a few days in order to catch up to where I should be...  but I have gotten through the 4 gospels already.

I will from time to time post some thoughts that my reading might generate, and of course I welcome all comments, questions, etc that you might have.  And if you do not happen to think of yourself as a Christian, or as someone who is "religious", but find that you want to comment or ask questions, please feel free to do so!!  This blog is an "equal opportunity blog", so all readers are welcome to comment...  [remember the "rules of engagement" please and be civil to others in your comments].

Anyway, so much for my New Year's resolutions...   did anyone else make any?...   and are you still keeping them? 

Back in the Game

ok...  I admit...   I have been a little bummed because I have not gotten many people checking out this blog...  and I obviously took a "vacation" from posting to this blog...  but I have decided to get back in the game, so to speak.  I will begin to post again, and perhaps, little by little, folks will begin to check out the blog, and follow it.